File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_1998/foucault.9806, message 12

Date: Wed, 3 Jun 1998 12:31:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: "WIN A HOLIDAY" is a known virus HOAX!

> Probably many people are aware of this already, but the fact is that you
> can't get a virus from opening an email and reading it. [..]

> The only way you can possibly get a virus from an email is if the email
> contains a file attachment which you yourself download. You'd know if
> you were doing so, though.

This is not as pristinely true as it used to be.  The problem is that the
notion of "reading" mail has changed.  When you "read" your mail using
a POP server with a PC-based mail client, such as Eudora or Netscape,
then the "reading" already entails both a downloading and, if the mail contains
an attachment, a possible "execution" of the attachment as a program.  So it is
in fact conceivable that by reading your mail, in this updated sense, you will
introduce a virus.

Which is NOT to say that people should post virus warnings to lists, or that
most of these warnings are anything but bogus.



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